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After a few rounds, the chaos and charm of Bangkok is just a 30-minute train or taxi ride away, as are more than 20 other golf courses. Since all domestic budget airlines are in the process of being moved to Don Muang Airport, the rest of Thailand can also be reached via an inexpensive flight.

Go on safari
A sign posted at this Kruger National Park club says it all: "Lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes, Do not run away! ... it will be more likely to give chase."

Built in the early 1970s as an exercise space for park employees, South Africa’s Skukuza Golf Course has become popular with park visitors who want a little adventure with their golf. The first tee sits next to Lake Panic, which teems with crocodiles and hippopotamuses. (If you hit your ball into the lake, take the free drop!). Deadly puff adders have been known to sunbathe in the warm golf cups, so look before your reach, and if that is still too boring for you, elephants have been known to charge!

For a glimpse of shyer animals, the 7,300sq-mile Kruger National Park is perfect for exploring by foot or by car. Also nearby is the recently opened Legend Golf and Safari Resort, which put the tee for its 19th hole on the 400m summit of Hanglip Mountain, accessible only by helicopter.

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© 2012 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Golf getaways for the non-golfer’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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